What Should I Give My Boss at the End of an Internship?

Your internship is a test-run for your future career -- so play it well.
i BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Much of your academic career has involved jumping through hoops -- being admitted into a school, completing your coursework, and finally, getting a sweet internship in your field. Once that's over, you'll have a few more hoops to jump through, including displaying some basic etiquette as you leave the internship. Make an effort to show your internship boss that you appreciate her, and don't hesitate to use your new connections to your professional advantage.

School materials

    Your school may have certain requirements for you to complete during your internship or may require you to formally log your work hours. Typically, your boss has to sign off on your log before you leave. In some cases, the school may want your boss to complete an evaluation form or conduct an exit interview and send the information to the school without you seeing it. Whatever your school's requirements, be sure to follow the guidelines and give your boss plenty of time to complete any documentation required.

Thank-you note

    Building relationships is key to a successful career. Following an internship, you want the boss with whom you've spent so much time to know that you appreciate her willingness to work with you and to teach you the ropes. The simplest way to do that is to give her a handwritten thank-you note addressed specifically to her. If you've worked with other key players in the office, leave them their own note as well. If you hope to work with the company some day, don't hesitate to mention that in the note -- your boss may remember that when hiring time comes around.

Personal gift

    If you've gotten to know your boss and learned something about her personal tastes, it may not hurt to give her a special parting gift as well. A small bag of her favorite coffee, a gift card to her favorite cafe or a small bottle of her signature perfume are simple and thoughtful ways to say thanks -- just don't overdo it or you may look like you have ulterior motives.

Recommendation letter

    The reason you took an internship was to eventually land a job in the same field. During the internship, you likely learned a few things, and hopefully got your hands dirty doing some of the tasks that others get paid to do. While you'll be able to use the internship on your resume, you can also use your new connections with the boss to ask for a letter of recommendation. Talk to your boss before your last week of work, and ask whether she's willing to write you a recommendation.

    If she agrees, ask if she'd like you to draft a letter or whether she'd like to write it herself. If she says it's alright for you to write the letter, bring it to her, free of grammatical mistakes, and have her sign it before you depart.

the nest